Sunday, 14 August 2016

Micronauts [2016] #2 - IDW Publishing

MICRONAUTS No. 2, May 2016
With the exception of a momentary pause while Oziron Rael leads his team on “a parts run” to “a settlement forty-five minutes to the west”, Issue Two of “Micronauts” is a non-stop action-packed thrill-a-minute ride, whose inclusion of such notable Seventies ‘toys’ as Biotron, Microtron, Acroyear, Space Glider and Force Commander must have delighted both the vast majority of its 12,803 readers, and any “Mego” aficionados who happened upon the twenty-page periodical inside a specialty store’s spinner rack. In fact, in many ways Cullen Bunn’s narrative depicting a detonating orbital space station, biological agent testing, and a planet-wide invasion by both genetically engineered super-warriors and later the Ministry of Science’s soldiers is arguably nearly faultless space opera. It certainly must have disappointed “IDW Publishing” that so well-written a title sold less than half as many copies as it did the month before…

For those bibliophiles who stuck with the North Carolina-born author’s “dream come true” however, the storyline not only offers plenty of explosions, robots, laser blasts and high-flying shenanigans, but also undoubtedly crams an awful lot of characterisation into the book’s panels as well. Such ‘spotlights’ upon Phenolo-Phi, the comedic Microtron and Biotron genuinely give their personalities an opportunity to shine through during the script’s numerous moments of crisis, with Oz’s diminutive first mate attempting to single-handedly delay a second generation “Acroyear swarm… in raze formation” proving particularly humorous; “Seek shelter, Captain! I’ll hold these brutes back for as long as I’m able! Put me down! Put me down – gently – you bully!”

Equally as successful as the portrayal of the more established Micronauts though, is the GLAAD Media Award-winner’s handling of “Larissa, a skilled mercenary with some rad force field technology at her disposal.” Initially forced upon Pharoid and his “band of misfits” by her treacherous employer Hezlee Ferro, Orbital Defender quickly establishes herself as a valuable ‘new’ member of the crew by first helping the roguish space pirate save “a lot of lives” from a lethal biological agent and then later, the “flanks” of the Heliopolis’ captain himself during their tussle with Baron Karza’s invasion force.

Max Dunbar’s dynamically-charged artwork, vibrantly coloured by David Garcia-Cruz is also exceptionally well-done. Only occasionally disappointing in the pencilling of his figures’ faces, the Canadian’s breakdowns are predominantly masterful, with Microtron, Biotron, Acroyear and Force Commander Baron Daigon being especially well-rendered.
The regular cover art of "MICRONAUTS" No. 2 by J.H. Williams III

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